Thursday, September 25, 2003
( 6:30 PM )
A Mama's Relief
Thank God. Amina Lawal, the 32 year old Nigerian mother who was convicted by a Sharia court last year to death by stoning has won her appeal. The case sparked a huge conflict in the country where its northern states have enacted the very fundamental Islamic Sharia laws. Amina was convicted for adultery, though the man who courted her was not charged or convicted of anything. In these laws, she could be sentenced to death - which was to make her stand in a hole in the earth while men threw stones at her head to crush her skull.
I am so thankful that the international pressure put on the Katsina, Nigeria government actually made a difference. I do not profess to know Islamic law, but I do know that any religious authority exercised to an extreme will produce abuse, not justice. I was so afraid that she would face a horrible death and never be able to raise her baby daughter. Amina is exactly my age. I am able to freely raise my child as I see fit, I would not face governmental censure if I did not have a husband, I am able to work to support my family, I am free to speak my mind and teach my child whatever I choose. Amina doesn't have these freedoms. She and the mamas like her in so many places on this earth are neglected, abused, and murdered without a second thought - every day. This is not a right of culture, society or religious belief - there is no belief or law that justifies the treatment of human beings - women and mothers - that way.
I just want to say it again, thank God she has been freed from this death sentence. I know her life will not be easy, but I'm so relieved she will HAVE a life and that her daughter will grow up with a mama who has faced the worst crisis and not only survived but emerged victorious. I just hope that the international attention that was paid to her case will not lose sight of the larger cause of justice and freedom for all women and children and human beings in this world. It's up to us who can grasp that freedom to pursue it for the most vulnerable of our sisters and brothers until it is achieved.
Congratulations Amina. Go home and rest - cuddle your baby and cry as long as you need to. We're here and we won't forget.